CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Dwarfed Wavemaker

Dwarfed Wavemaker
PIA 14648

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  The tiny wavemaker moon Daphnis is dwarfed by the very waves it creates on the edge of the Keeler gap. Daphnis (5 miles, 8 kilometers across), the tiny dot in the center of the outer gap seen here, raises waves on the edges of the Keeler gap as it passes the ring material. Daphnis' gravitational encounters also maintain the gap, shepherding material back into the ring.

The two bright dots between the A and F ring are stars. For more about Daphnis, see PIA06238.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 50 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Jan. 15, 2013.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 870,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers) from Daphnis and at a Sun-Daphnis-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 99 degrees. Image scale is 5 miles (8 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini Solstice Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini Solstice Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: April 22, 2013 (PIA 14648)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
NeKto (Apr 24, 2013 at 11:20 AM):
i think we may have learned more about gravity and gravitational interactions from watching the rings of Saturn than any other source. with the small moons like Daphnis, i wonder how stable they are. if the gravitational tides change, could the small moons be pulled into pieces? if some of them are really rubble piles, i would think it would not take much to return them to ring material.